Fall, Fiction, and Feeding Heads

Sleepy Cat... So cute...

Phew! It’s been a busy last couple of weeks and I’ve neglected my blog. I should say “shame on me,” but if it’s any consolation, I haven’t even decorated for Halloween yet. Well, more than it already is, anyway. Oh, but this is my favorite season. Already made apple crumble, cinnamon rolls, and dirty chicken and gnocchi. I am eagerly waiting for the world to turn dark so homemade hot chocolate, chicken and dumplings, and pot pies are on the table. Finally got my pumpkins, but one of them has mold on it. Haven’t quite figured out what I want to carve, but I suppose at some point I’ll give in to the owl craze. Thar be paintings on my agenda.

In fiction-land… I’ve been taking an online short story workshop. Might have mentioned it before, but I’ll give a recap after we’re done to talk a little bit more about it. Some writers post about how they want to get “there,” to the point where they don’t have to hone or sharpen skills — I’m not one of them. I’m very self-aware about my work and how my emphasis on different forms of writing (or consumption thereof) affects my fiction. I’m with Michaelangelo on this one. It doesn’t matter where I am in my career or how many years I’ve written — “I am still learning.” The minute I think I’m “good” or get cocky about my abilities… Well, that’s when my work suffers. ‘Course, the opposite is true as well, because then I freeze up and the words just don’t flow. Yes, “word anxiety.” It’s a thing.

Here’s an exercise I wrote recently:

Deadwood was the kind of town that had everythin’. Well, almost everything. You see, it had a barber shop, saloon, pokey — and a whorehouse, too. What it needed was a doctor’s office: nothin’ fancy. Just a small house with one of dem picket fences and a purty l’il lawn. Instead, that good-for-nothin’ mayor cut a deal, the kind that folks are scared to talk about, on account of the people involved in it. Yep, that’s right. Mayor Wilkins went ahead and signed a contract with that good-for-nothin’ varmint: Jackson “Evil Eye” Miller. And what fer? To build a mall. Now, this mall weren’t just any collection of shops, it was built to attract them rich folk. Though the buildings were mighty plain, it was decked out like the President’s mansion when he welcomed that Japanese dignitary. E’erywhere you walked, fresh orchids and blood lilies spilled out of bronze urns. Fine silks were sewn into draperies and the names of all the stores were painted on the windows in gold and silver. If that weren’t enough frippery to impress the nobles, the stores themselves were top end. Why, there wasn’t a shop in that mall that didn’t have something interestin’ to offer folk, something unusual like sweaters made from alpaca wool or tea harvested from hibisucs. That mall was e’erythin’ gentile folk might dream of, which is exactly why Ma’s Diner was such an eyesore. Against such finery, who’d bother dropping by Ma’s dingy log cabin just to order a stack of greasy flapjacks?

I did… And my stomach’s still mighty queasy, too. What was in those pancakes? And what’s “Ma” stand for, anyway? By the way my guts feel, I’m startin’ to worry she’s actually Miller’s mom, bakin’ dead bodies in her l’il diner. Boy, I hope not. Deadwood may be a lot of things, but I shore hope folks ain’t takin’ its name too literally.

Gee, can you tell I’ve been knee-deep in Firefly or what?

In other news, want a great deal on ebooks and feed the hungry at the same time? I’m guessing you do! DriveThruFiction.com is sponsoring a Read and Feed eBook bundle. It retails for $150 but you can pick up over 30 eBooks for twenty bucks. The proceeds will be donated to Feeding America. Both REDWING’S GAMBIT and Eddy Webb’s collection SLICES OF FATE are included in this collection, but there are several others, too! If you want more information, FlamesRising.com has more details.

    Mood: Sunny side up
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Decent consumption
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Pesky Chores
    In My Ears: Movie soundtrack mix
    Game Last Played: Dragon Age II
    Book Last Read: Darn it… Can’t remember!
    Movie Last Viewed: Alice in Wonderland
    Latest Artistic Project: *Still* *still* *still* need to take pictures… It’s on the list!
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing
    Latest Game Release: Serenity Crew, Wedding Planners Cortex Plus, and Shooting Fish
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work and novels. Added an online writing workshop, too!

Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

Want an interview? If you’d like to interview me or request a guest blog post, please connect with me via the contact page, too. Due to time constraints and other communicative concerns, I typically don’t follow up on requests via social media.

Keen on sending fan mail? I am also happy to engage with readers and fans. Please note that I am unable to reply satisfactorily to certain types of queries related to the companies I work for due to the agreements I typically sign. If you have a question about a TV show or a line of books, the best way to get your answer is to contact the studio or publisher directly.

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